Application of Absorption Modeling to Predict Bioequivalence Outcome of Two Batches of Etoricoxib Tablets

Publication: AAPS PharmSciTech
Software: GastroPlus®


As part of the overall product development and manufacturing strategy, pharmaceutical companies routinely change formulation and manufacturing site. Depending on the type and level of change and the BCS class of the molecule, dissolution data and/or bioequivalence(BE) may be needed to support the change for immediate release dosage forms. In this report, we demonstrate that for certain weakly basic low-solubility molecules which rapidly dissolve in the stomach, absorption modeling could be used to justify a BE study waiver even when there is failure to show dissolution similarity under some conditions. The development of an absorption model for etoricoxib is described here, which was then used to a priori predict the BE outcome of tablet batches manufactured at two sites. Dissolution studies in 0.01 N HCl media (pH 2.0) had demonstrated similarity of etoricoxib tablets manufactured at two different sites. However, dissolution testing at pH 4.5 and pH 6.8 media failed to show comparability of the tablets manufactured at the two sites. Single simulations and virtual trials conducted using the 0.01 N HCl dissolution showed similarity in AUC and C max for all tablet strengths for batches manufactured at the two manufacturing sites. These predicted results were verified in a definitive bioequivalence study, which showed that both tablet batches were bioequivalent. Since the development of traditional in vitro-in vivo correlations (IVIVC) for immediate release (IR) products is challenging, in cases such as etoricoxib, absorption modeling could be used as an alternative to support waiver of a BE study.